When we think of bringing flowers indoors, we often imagine a beautiful bouquet. But flowers can brighten up the dinner plate too! Edible flowers range from sweet, to tangy, to savory, and can be used in many different dishes. Remember to rinse your flowers well and never eat flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides. Flowers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Here are some of our favorite edible flowers and their uses:
Squash blossoms have a delicate, sweet flavor. You can use the blossoms from any squash, but zucchini blossoms are the most commonly used. These long, rounded yellow blossoms are delicious stuffed with herbed cheese, fried until crispy, or placed on top of a summery pizza.
Use chive, leek, or garlic blooms to add a pop of bright oniony flavor to savory dishes. Try them in salads, over mashed potatoes, or mixed into soft cheese.
Borage flowers have a mild cucumber flavor, making them a beautiful and refreshing addition to salads or cocktails. Try freezing them into ice cubes to liven up your summertime lemonade.
Lavender has a floral flavor that works well with sweet treats. Sprinkle fresh buds into champagne or lemonade for a hint of flavor. Or, infuse sugar or simple syrup with the flowers to use in drinks and desserts. Try using the infused sugar in your favorite cake recipe for a light, floral flavor.
Chamomile flowers have a light, earthy, apple-like flavor. Use them to make a delicious tea, or infuse simple syrup for use in baked goods and other desserts.
While all rose petals are edible, they don’t all taste the same. Generally, varieties that smell good will taste good too. Remove the white, bitter parts of the petals before using. Toss the petals into fruit salads, add chopped petals to butter or sugar to dress them up, or dry petals to add to granola. You can also infuse liquid with rose petals to create rose-flavored jams, jellies, or beverages.
Pansies and violas
Pansies and violas have a light minty flavor. They look beautiful tossed in a salad or pressed into a soft cheese. They also add a delicate touch when candied and placed on top of cookies, cakes, or other sweet treats.
Nasturtiums have a slightly peppery taste that lends itself well to savory dishes. They come in a variety of colors – use them to brighten up salads, spring rolls, or to top bruschetta. You can also pickle the flower buds and use as you would use capers. The leaves are edible too!
Though dandelions can be a pesky weed, they are also edible! The flowers are great raw in salads, or breaded and fried as a snack. They can also be used to make jelly, tea, or wine. The leaves and roots are also edible! Try the leaves sautéed as you would any hearty greens, or dry, roast, and steep the roots to make dandelion “coffee.”
Any herb flowers
Try mint, dill, sage, thyme, or basil flowers. These all have flavor similar to the foliage they are normally grown for. Flowers from sweeter herbs, like mint, are excellent additions to iced tea, lemonade, fruit salads, or desserts. Savory options will add a nice touch to roasted vegetables, pasta, or pizzas.
Candied edible flowers:
Candied edible flowers add a sparkly touch and delicate flavor to any dessert.
1-2 cups edible flowers (rinsed and patted dry)
1 egg white (room temperature)
1 teaspoon water
½ cup superfine sugar
Whisk the water and egg white together gently until a few bubbles appear. Working one flower at a time, use a paintbrush to gently paint the front of your flowers with the egg white, then flip and paint the back. Sprinkle both sides of the flower with a thin, even layer of superfine sugar. Place flowers on a drying rack and leave at room temperature until completely dry, 4 to 24 hours.